When I was 11 years old, every Friday my dad made me write a personal letter to a woman he hardly knew. The woman’s name was Miss Miller, and she was my sixth-grade teacher at St. Mark Catholic Grade School. I don’t remember if it was her idea or his idea. All I remember is that after she called him on the phone a few times to complain about my behavior in class, they developed a scheme in which I was forced to write the following letter on a blank sheet of paper every week:
I grew up in the country in a family neighborhood that included seven families. My grandparents lived next door to my parents, and all of the other families in the neighborhood were made up of my aunts, uncles, and cousins. One of the uncles was my dad’s brother, Bill Williams. His house was located next to a wooded area where he would sometimes hunt for rabbits and quail. Uncle Bill loved hunting so much, he set up a little “gun shop” in his basement where he could re-fill his own shotgun shells.
Two weeks ago in my article, The Wrong Way To Apologize, I gave you four examples of apologies that, in my opinion, were not genuine apologies. In last week’s article, A Genuine Apology, I told you about a recent experience I had where I ended up apologizing to a hotel clerk for the way I treated her after she was not able to fulfill a commitment that was made to me by another employee of the hotel.
Last Month I went to Atlanta, Georgia, for a four day conference. I took a direct flight from the airport in Bloomington (Central Illinois Regional Airport) to the airport in Atlanta (Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport). The flight was scheduled to depart at 6:40 p.m., but was delayed for over ninety minutes. In addition to the long delay, when I arrived in Atlanta, I had to set my watch ahead an hour because of the time change.
If you’ve been reading my articles for a while, you may have noticed that I have a little bit of an anger problem. Although I’m optimistic by nature and work hard at staying positive, there are certain situations that irritate me and cause me to automatically respond in a hostile way. Two such situations are: (1) when a person who should be listening to me doesn’t listen; and (2) when a person doesn’t do what he (or she) promised to do.